Islamic laws manipulated for political mileage, says Siti Kasim

Source: FMT News

Lawyer-cum-activist, Siti Kasim. Pic from FMT News.

Lawyer-cum-activist, Siti Kasim. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Islamic laws in Malaysia have been manipulated and used as a tool by politicians interested only in obtaining political mileage, says lawyer-cum-activist Siti Kasim.

Hence, the Malays in this country should stand up and question the implementation of these laws instead of taking them lying down, she added.

“These man-made laws will affect the Malays first, and then the rest (those of other races).

“We the Malays must question these laws instead of simply accepting them as God’s law.

“Learn about Islam from those who are genuine, not from those with ulterior motives,” she told FMT. Read more

[Postponed] Constitutional Law Lecture Series – Second Lecture: “Amendments to Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 – Constitutional & Practical Issues”

constilawlectureseries

The organisers wish to announcement this lecture has been postponed on account of the speaker having fallen ill with dengue fever


8 December 2016 · 5:30 pm—7:30 pm · Auditorium Tun Mohamed Suffian, Faculty of Law, UM

2ND LECTURE

“AMENDMENTS TO SYARIAH COURTS (CRIMINAL JURISDICTION) ACT 1965 — CONSTITUTIONAL & PRACTICAL ISSUES”

Guest Speaker: Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof

Retired Court of Appeal Judge Mohamad Ariff Yusof - pic from FMT News

Retired Court of Appeal Judge Mohamad Ariff Yusof – pic from FMT News

Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof is a retired Judge of the Court of Appeal, Malaysia. Beginning with a career as a law lecturer in 1974 and subsequently an Associate Professor and Deputy Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Malaya from 1974 to 1985, he then practised as an advocate and solicitor from 1986 and was one of the founding partners of Messrs. Cheang & Ariff. He took leave from legal practice between 1993 and 1995 to join the newly-formed Securities Commission of Malaysia and became the first Director of its Market Supervision Department. He became a Judicial Commissioner, High Court of Malaya in 2008, later a Judge of the High Court, and thereafter became a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2012. He retired from the Malaysian Judiciary in early 2015 and is currently a consultant at Messrs. Cheang & Ariff.


Background:

On 26 May 2016, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, President of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) presented a Private Member’s Bill in the Dewan Rakyat to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355). The move has re-ignited the ongoing debate over hudud in the country, with proponents of the Bill insisting that the Bill merely seeks to strengthen the powers of the Syariah Courts, and not about introducing hudud into the existing legal system. What exactly are the changes sought to be brought about by the Bill? Can the proposed changes be implemented within our existing constitutional framework? What are the constitutional implications and practical issues that could arise from the amendments, if any? To find out more, join us for the 2nd lecture in the Constitutional Law Lecture Series.


Program:

5:30 pm Registration
5:50 pm Welcome Speech by Organisers
6:00 pm 2nd Lecture by Dato’ Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof
7:00 pm Interactive Session
7:30 pm Light Refreshments

Malaysia joins Indonesia, Brunei as worst regional freedom of thought offenders in 2016

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Malaysia joins Muslim-majority neighbours Indonesia and Brunei, which were similarly ranked as the worst freedom of thought offenders in the Southeast Asian region. — AFP pic

Malaysia joins Muslim-majority neighbours Indonesia and Brunei, which were similarly ranked as the worst freedom of thought offenders in the Southeast Asian region. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 ― Malaysia has been rated as “grave violators” of the rights and treatment of the non-religious in this year’s Freedom of Thought Report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

The country joins Muslim-majority neighbours Indonesia and Brunei, which were similarly ranked as the worst offenders in the Southeast Asian region.

“Malaysia rates very badly for freedom of thought and expression, with ethnic Malays subjected to strict state controls over an enforced, homogenous religious identity, including mandatory Shariah laws, and in two states hudud enactments mandating death for ‘apostasy’,” said the report published this week.

In March 2015, Kelantan passed the amendment to its so-called hudud law, the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment (Kelantan) 1993 which prescribed jail for an apostate to repent, and execution if repentance is impossible.

Terengganu has a similar law passed in 2002: the Syariah Criminal Offences (Hudud and Qisas) Enactment.

At the moment, Shariah courts cannot impose death penalty due to the limitations of sentences it can mete out in the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, the law which Islamist party PAS and the ruling party Umno are aiming to amend.

Malaysia was given a score of 4 for the “constitution and government” and “education and children’s rights” categories, and 5 for “family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals” and “freedom of expression advocacy of humanist values”. Read more

Now, Amanah pushes own Shariah motion

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Khalid said their proposal will not go beyond what was allowed by the Federal Constitution. — Pic taken from the Malay Mail Online

Khalid said their proposal will not go beyond what was allowed by the Federal Constitution. — Pic taken from the Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) has filed a motion on enhancing the powers of the Shariah courts, similar to that of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Amanah communications director Khalid Samad claimed, however, that his party’s version would be more coherent and detailed than Hadi’s proposal.

“An alternative motion has already been submitted by Kota Raja,” the Shah Alam MP said, referring to Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud.

He added that the motion was submitted last week and will appear on the Order Paper after 14 days.

Khalid also said their proposal will not go beyond what was allowed by the Federal Constitution. Read more

In plea to MPs, CCM says Hadi’s Bill will ‘radically’ rewrite constitution

Source: The Malay Mail Online

hermen-shastri1-150813_620_412_100

CCM secretary-general Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri urges MPs not to look at the Bill lightly and instead view it with ‘great concern and alarm’. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 ― The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) today warned MPs against Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill that is intended to empower Shariah Courts, saying that a vote for the Bill will “radically” rewrite the Federal Constitution.

In an open letter just two days before the upcoming parliamentary session, CCM secretary-general Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri urged MPs not to look at the Bill lightly and instead view it with “great concern and alarm”.

“Lawmakers must not treat Hadi’s attempt to alter our country’s justice system set in place by our founding fathers and consistently sustained for over 55 years lightly.

“Hadi’s Bill is not just about upgrading the power of the Shariah Courts, it is rewriting the constitution in a radical way,” he said in his letter.

Shastri pointed out that Shariah Courts were established and regulated by state laws, and that their powers and offences were defined by the Federal Constitution.

He added that the ramification to widen Islamic laws was not only limited to those who are Muslims, but was also a matter of concern in allowing future state laws to be altered by federal powers. Read more

Vote against Hadi’s Private Members Bill — Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism

Source: The Malay Mail Online

An opinion piece - file pic

An opinion piece – file pic

OCTOBER 15 — The  Malaysian  Counsultative  Council  of  Buddhism, Christianity, Hindusim, Sikhism and Taosim (MCCBCHST) is gravely concerned with Hadi’s Private Members Bill  which will be coming up for debate soon in our Federal Parliament. As the Bill will have far-reaching consequences for the Nation, the MCCBCHST feels duty-bound to issue this open letter to Members of Parliament to do their duty as required by their oath of office to protect our Federal Consitution.

I Is Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill a Bill empowering HUDUD offences?

The answer is a clear ‘YES’. Here is why

The aim of Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill is to seek Parliament’s approval to enhance the Jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts. Presently the Syariah Courts can only impose punishments up to 3 years imprisonment, fine up to  RM5,000.00 and whipping up to 6 lashes (commonly known as 3-5-6 limits). This is provided for by the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355). Read more

It’s a motion: Legislative process for Private Member’s Bill — Ooi Heng

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY OOI HENG

Malaysian Parliament — MMO file pic

Malaysian Parliament — MMO file pic

OCTOBER 15 — Dewan Rakyat will resume sitting on the 17th of October. The Dewan Rakyat Order Paper showed that the first four items of business consists of three motions and one Government Bill. The motion by the President of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and Member of Parliament (MP) for Marang, Hadi Awang, is being listed as the fourth item. It is understandable that the media are focusing on this fourth item.

In the past, the media tend to make such reports, treating a motion as a bill, and treating the legislative procedure of a Private Member’s Bill as the same as that of a Government Bill. Dealing with the controversial ‘Hudud issue’, the media currently need to present the aspects of the different legislative procedures.

The legislative procedures for Government Bills and non-Government Bills are not indifferent. Those being presented by Government frontbenchers or ‘MPs who are ministers’ are Government Bills, while those being presented by the so-called ‘ordinary Members of Parliament’ (ordinary MPs) or ‘MPs who are not ministers’ are non-Government Bills. The Government frontbenchers are representing the executive branch, while the ordinary MPs consisting of government backbenchers, opposition MPs and independent MPs, are representing the legislative branch. Read more

Ambiga: Brake on MPs’ freedom of speech erodes democracy

Source: FMT News

HAKAM President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

HAKAM President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 15, 2015.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Human Rights Society has expressed concern that certain parties are explicit that non-Muslims MPs should not debate the hudud Bill while Muslim lawmakers must vote ‘aye’ for the law.

“These two statements undermine our parliamentary democracy,” its president Ambiga Sreenevasan said.

The lawyer made the remarks when she took to the podium at the inaugural lecture “Reclaiming our Federal Constitution – Preserve, Protect & Defend” at the University of Malaya Thursday.

Saying she would not go into the merits of the Bill, which is scheduled to be tabled by PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang when Parliament begins its session next week, Ambiga lamented:

“They are saying that non-Muslim MPs cannot discuss the legislation that is coming before Parliament. They are also saying that Muslim MPs have no choice but to vote.

“And we never had such a situation in the past. Of course, when it comes to the (party) whip, that is a different thing. So those are the things that worry me.” Read more

PAS’ hudud Bill slated for debate next Parliament meeting

Source: The Star Online

imagesPETALING JAYA: PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s (pix) controversial hudud Bill is set to ignite heated debate when Parliament reconvenes next week.

Abdul Hadi’s Private Members Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 is said to have been slotted as item number four in the next Parliament meeting’s Order Paper.

Abdul Hadi had tabled the Bill on May 26, the last day of the previous meeting.

However, Abdul Hadi opted to postpone debate on the Bill till October.

He has repeatedly assured that the proposed amendments are not aimed at implementing hudud law, but to increase the powers of the Syariah Courts to impose stiffer penalties for offences, except for the death penalty.

However, he failed to quell concern from certain quarters, particularly non-Muslims, who fear that the amendments will pave the way for implementation of hudud law in the country. Read more

Beyond the severity of hudud punishments — Dr Shahrul Mizan Ismail

Source: NST Online

BY DR SHAHRUL MIZAN ISMAIL

THE polemic in relation to the implementation of hudud and how it clashes with several aspects of human rights is not a new quandary. In fact, it very much goes back to the bigger debate between Islam and international human rights law, and the ever irresolvable dilemma of drawing an effective reconciliation between the theocentric essentials of Islamic law and the demands of international human rights law.

This problem is further exacerbated in the case of hudud punishments, since syariah is so explicitly clear as to its crimes and punishments, lessening any manoeuvring space between the two.

But arguing merely on this basis, focusing only on the severity of hudud punishments and how barbaric they are as a justification for them to be denunciated altogether is, in itself, counterproductive. The act of lashing 100 times or stoning till death a human being will, of course, be inconsistent with modern penological principles and contemporary norms of international human rights law.

Nevertheless, demanding Muslims categorically forsake them on these grounds is ineffective since it insensitively neglects a number of decisive realities of Islam and Muslims in general. To pragmatically resolve the issue, one must go back to listening, constructively comparing, and sincerely appreciating the vast divergences between Islamic law and human rights law. Read more